Are political leanings of a firm a legitimate consideration?

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Are political leanings of a firm a legitimate consideration?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:30 am

I have callbacks (not offers, so maybe jumping the gun, but these places do have 85+% CB-offer conversion rates) with some firms that have reputations for being highly conservative (like Gibson Dunn). I'm pretty into social justice and a borderline communist and have found through my life that political leanings can influence the ease with which I fit in with a group of people and make friends. Should I consider the political reputation of a firm when deciding whether to go with them? Does that play into long-term fit?

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Re: Are political leanings of a firm a legitimate consideration?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have callbacks (not offers, so maybe jumping the gun, but these places do have 85+% CB-offer conversion rates) with some firms that have reputations for being highly conservative (like Gibson Dunn). I'm pretty into social justice and a borderline communist and have found through my life that political leanings can influence the ease with which I fit in with a group of people and make friends. Should I consider the political reputation of a firm when deciding whether to go with them? Does that play into long-term fit?


for Gibson in particular, it seems like DC is the only conservative-leaning office based on what I've heard from friends in NY and CA. also more than half their political contributions were to Dems in 2012: http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/c ... cycle=2012

that said, if it really bugs you, makes sense to factor it in on the margins

john_brown

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Re: Are political leanings of a firm a legitimate consideration?

Postby john_brown » Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm pretty into social justice and a borderline communist and have found through my life that political leanings can influence the ease with which I fit in with a group of people and make friends. Should I consider the political reputation of a firm when deciding whether to go with them? Does that play into long-term fit?


Sorry, but unless this is an exaggeration, I just don't see you lasting very long in a biglaw environment. It's not really the "political leanings" of the firm, but the nature of the work that will get to you. If you think you can assuage the guilt through the occasional pro bono project, you're likely in for a rude awakening.

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Re: Are political leanings of a firm a legitimate consideration?

Postby InterviewAccount » Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:59 pm

It really shouldn't be. I have very specific knowledge about Gibson Dunn (DC office) and although they have that reputation, politics are generally kept in check in the workplace. One of the most liberal people I've met recently has had no problem with Gibson Dunn despite working there for a while.
Last edited by InterviewAccount on Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are political leanings of a firm a legitimate consideration?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:08 pm

If you really are a "borderline communist" this is the wrong question to be asking IMO. Regardless of whether you're at the most liberal biglaw firm or the most conservative, you're going to be helping massive corporations skirt environmental, antitrust, trade, employment and financial regulations and/or serving as a support structure to the banking industry.

Now if you're actually just a run-of-the-mill liberal in the Hillary vein or whatever then, yeah, looking into campaign donations and the like should give you a pretty decent proxy for the political leanings of a firm and it might make sense to consider that, among other factors, when making your decision.

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Re: Are political leanings of a firm a legitimate consideration?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:55 pm

john_brown wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm pretty into social justice and a borderline communist and have found through my life that political leanings can influence the ease with which I fit in with a group of people and make friends. Should I consider the political reputation of a firm when deciding whether to go with them? Does that play into long-term fit?


Sorry, but unless this is an exaggeration, I just don't see you lasting very long in a biglaw environment. It's not really the "political leanings" of the firm, but the nature of the work that will get to you. If you think you can assuage the guilt through the occasional pro bono project, you're likely in for a rude awakening.


Agreed (as someone who was equally naive and is now trying to transition into public interest law). Maybe it's worth it to work off some loan debt for a few years, but realistically, if you're that liberal, you're eventually going to be miserable no matter which biglaw firm you accept. Not even the most liberal firm is going to save you from working to help a lot of massive corporations do their thing; these firms are trying to make bank, too.

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Frayed Knot

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Re: Are political leanings of a firm a legitimate consideration?

Postby Frayed Knot » Sun Aug 14, 2016 10:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have callbacks (not offers, so maybe jumping the gun, but these places do have 85+% CB-offer conversion rates) with some firms that have reputations for being highly conservative (like Gibson Dunn). I'm pretty into social justice and a borderline communist and have found through my life that political leanings can influence the ease with which I fit in with a group of people and make friends. Should I consider the political reputation of a firm when deciding whether to go with them? Does that play into long-term fit?


Two points: first, if this is something that matters to you (and you're not opposed the the idea of corporate clients) there are tons of firms that skew moderately left of center. I'd say the distribution for biglaw isn't that different than for t14 students—that is, you've got a few FedSoc types, many of whom skew libertarian, but the majority of people are fairly liberal. So, if that's what you're looking for, you won't have to limit your options all that much. (The reverse, of course, is much less true.)

Second, another axis that might be more important to consider (I think) is how political/politically involved a firm is. There are a lot of firms where people mostly keep their politics to themselves and stick to the old "don't discuss religion, sex, or politics" rule of thumb. Others, much less so. At least as far as I can tell, this generally tracks how buttoned up the firm culture is, with the more formal firms less likely to bring politics into the workplace. A place like that might be a good fit, if you truly think your politics are outside the mainstream—there's certainly a lot else to bond over other than politics. On the other hand, if you do think politics helps you fit in and make friends, you might like a firm where people are a bit more open with it.

(Again, all of the above assumes you can make peace with the fundamental nature of the work in biglaw. FWIW, I think there are a lot of ways that a conscientious individual can use a biglaw salary to achieve more good than they'd achieve by passing on the job in favor of public interest law. Obviously, opinions on this differ.)

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Re: Are political leanings of a firm a legitimate consideration?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Aug 14, 2016 10:25 pm

Frayed Knot wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have callbacks (not offers, so maybe jumping the gun, but these places do have 85+% CB-offer conversion rates) with some firms that have reputations for being highly conservative (like Gibson Dunn). I'm pretty into social justice and a borderline communist and have found through my life that political leanings can influence the ease with which I fit in with a group of people and make friends. Should I consider the political reputation of a firm when deciding whether to go with them? Does that play into long-term fit?


Two points: first, if this is something that matters to you (and you're not opposed the the idea of corporate clients) there are tons of firms that skew moderately left of center. I'd say the distribution for biglaw isn't that different than for t14 students—that is, you've got a few FedSoc types, many of whom skew libertarian, but the majority of people are fairly liberal. So, if that's what you're looking for, you won't have to limit your options all that much. (The reverse, of course, is much less true.)

Second, another axis that might be more important to consider (I think) is how political/politically involved a firm is. There are a lot of firms where people mostly keep their politics to themselves and stick to the old "don't discuss religion, sex, or politics" rule of thumb. Others, much less so. At least as far as I can tell, this generally tracks how buttoned up the firm culture is, with the more formal firms less likely to bring politics into the workplace. A place like that might be a good fit, if you truly think your politics are outside the mainstream—there's certainly a lot else to bond over other than politics. On the other hand, if you do think politics helps you fit in and make friends, you might like a firm where people are a bit more open with it.

(Again, all of the above assumes you can make peace with the fundamental nature of the work in biglaw. FWIW, I think there are a lot of ways that a conscientious individual can use a biglaw salary to achieve more good than they'd achieve by passing on the job in favor of public interest law. Obviously, opinions on this differ.)

I completely agree with all of this. Firms also vary in whether they genuinely value pro bono work or pay lip service to it, which is something worth considering.

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Re: Are political leanings of a firm a legitimate consideration?

Postby FSK » Sun Aug 14, 2016 10:26 pm

If you go to Jones Day everyone will think you're a TRUMP supporter.
Last edited by FSK on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are political leanings of a firm a legitimate consideration?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 10:26 pm

I am liberal and just summered in a Biglaw office in DC known for being conservative (not GDC). Nearly every SCOTUS clerk in the office came from Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Kennedy, Rehnquist, etc. I had a little trepidation going into this. I felt silly by the end of the summer for even thinking it would have an impact, because it didn't matter at all. Everybody did their own thing, there were lots of liberals in the office too, politics didn't appear to ever be a consideration, and people were able to hop on the types of pro bono work that they liked doing (i.e. religious liberty type things were available as was voting rights work). So I wouldn't worry about this.

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King Cayuga

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Re: Are political leanings of a firm a legitimate consideration?

Postby King Cayuga » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:59 am

OP, please report back in 3 years.



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